Let’s Do The Time Warp Again (And Again)

I’ve read a lot of articles that discuss the death of rock and roll. Several die hard fans like me, make a strong case for how the music is all but dead and buried since we are stuck in a wave of nostalgia for great artists such as The Beatles and Rolling Stones and ignore strong bands like Queens of the Stone Age because they don’t have the gravitas we have come to expect from everything in life. I did scant research but based on Billboard’s Top Tours official numbers for the years 2011-2013, I would have to concur, rock is at death’s door. The roster of highly successful tours the past three years does read like a who’s who in cutting edge rock and roll, if the calendar still says it’s 1987! Bon Jovi, Madonna, Depeche Mode, Iron Maiden, Van Halen, Sade and U2. Then there’s the acts that had already reached classic status back then like Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Roger Waters, Fleetwood Mac, Journey and The Eagles. Bon Jovi topped everybody last year grossing $205 million and $193 million in 2011, they also sold out every show on both tours. I can’t fault these bands for going out and cashing in but in most of these cases these are pretty much greatest hits tours even if the bands have new material to promote. It’s like one of my favorite bits on The Simpsons when Jackson Browne gets introduced (Yay!) and everybody applauds until it’s announced he has a new song to play for everyone (Boo!). So is it our fault as an audience that we only want to hear what we are familiar with or is that the expectation to hear a band’s best stuff when we are paying high ticket prices to see bands that are missing key members that played on the popular songs when they were brand new? I looked up Bon Jovi’s latest record from 2013 called What About Now?  which seems like a good title to sum up the situation. Will anybody listen to this record? I couldn’t tell you what the single is off of it except it’s probably the first song on the album Because We Can. I’ve never seen Bon Jovi in concert but if I went I admit I’d rather hear You Give Love A Bad Name than any of the 12 tracks off of their 2013 record that I can’t name without looking it up. Getting back to the Billboard list I could say the same about the catalogs of some of those artists so I know that I am partly to blame for the decaying state of rock and roll. What will happen when McCartney can no longer tour or The Boss or The Eagles finally decide to call it a day for real? Probably nothing. 

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3 thoughts on “Let’s Do The Time Warp Again (And Again)

  1. The big business of nostalgia – aimed squarely at Boomers and increasingly at Gen Y – will (like nature) fill a vacuum. But what will it be? Tribute Bands?
    Part of what bothers me is how our precious music history shrinks to a list of artists who can fill stadia. Having said that, if I want to increase traffic to my blog… I write about Pink Floyd or (insert your favourite ‘classic’ rock act here).

    • I’ve been thinking a lot about the nostalgia scene lately and what can I do in small part to move beyond it, but most of my personal experiences relate to those bigger bands. The newer acts I like like The Hold Steady etc. draw on those sounds too so even talking about them brings up references to things that are already familiar. But I will keep trying to come up with something a little out of my normal range.

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